What does it take to play poker for a living? What is it like to play in big games? What does it take to win? These are the questions Doug Young attempts to answer in his book, High Stakes Poker: The Sky’s the Limit, a chronicle of the lessons learned by a professional poker player.
Young’s book provides advice on what it takes to play at the highest levels in the moderately big games in which he plays. He doesn’t focus on the play of hands. In fact, he doesn’t mention a single hand of poker in the entire book. Instead, his focus is on the mental and psychological aspects that are required in order to play winning poker. This is a collection of about 30 mostly stand-alone essays which contain this advice. Some sample topics include, “Finding A Game”, “Poker & Booze”, and “Pay Attention To That Inner Voice”.
Almost all of the advice is solid, such as advising players not to play with scared money, to quit a game if you’re not playing one’s best, and that players’ biggest adversaries usually are themselves. Some advice isn’t as good. Young talks about how important it is to recognize and play a rush, and how important it is to stay out of the way of another player’s rush. *sigh*. I wish I had a dollar for every poker player who misinterprets or just doesn’t understand the ramifications of the Central Limit Theorem. This is just wrong, and I firmly believe that this sort of advice is harmful to players. Fortunately, very little of the book’s contents are so destructive.
On the other hand, the good advice given in this book just isn’t that strong. For example, Young provides some guidelines for maintaining an adequate bankroll, but it’s …